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Postmodern Village
est. 1999
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A Quick Introduction to Postcritical Preemptive
by Staniel Crocker

This school of literature and art has developed over the last five to ten years as a response to contemporary critical theory, in an attempt to depose the critic from its unheralded stealth usurpation of the lordship of the literary world. The author has, over the last century, been robbed of significance in the literary endeavor, as the creative process of writing has yielded to the merely productive process of publishing, and the constructive process of reading has been abandoned in favor of compulsive, masturbatory de-construction. The author has been pronounced as dead as God, also sprach Benjamin, and the text has been proclaimed irrelevant. The hapless reader has been reduced to the state of an ideological automaton, helplessly circumscribed by the anachronistically pre-Heisenbergian determinism of the Sapir-Whorf Black Iron Fortress.

Of course, the people who are promulgating such theories are almost exclusively the critics. Postcritical preemptive self-destructivists such as Dilliam Weefoke have applied deconstructivist methods to the critical paradigm itself and have concluded that

[T]he critics are, in the main, a bunch of wannabes who have little capacity for creative thought of their own and are capable of gaining the attention and recognition they desperately crave only by slavishly applying other people's marginally relevant theories and tired ideologies to the creative work of someone else, in hopes that doing so will somehow expose the actual creative work as some kind of cardboard façade while simultaneously making themselves look awfully clever, for having had the idea to do so.1

Weefoke goes on to suggest in his short work "My Corpus Collosum Ate Your Patriarch" that the creators of original works can only regain a certain measure of power if they preemptively critique their own work, robbing the critics of their apparent cleverness, and unmasking them as purveyors of the obvious and uninteresting. This idea itself is critiqued within the very work where it is first presented in the now classic exchange between the legless writer known only to the reader as "Mister Beepers" and Professor Shiv, wherein Shiv promises to eradicate all meaning, and Beepers famously retorts "Blimpulix."

Shirley Puddin's retro-fictional essays show how the mind's capacity to make meaning from nonsense eviscerates deconstruction by causing it to tear itself apart, exposing the inherent folly in trying to expose the folly inherent in the creative endeavor. Though most of her work already predates Weefoke's observation that compulsive deconstruction with no attempt at reconstruction is merely destructive, Puddin's æsthetic clearly reflects the same understanding, along with the meta-jaded ironic cynicism that allows her to beat the critics to the punch, by weaving creative self-destruction into the very structure of her writing. She knows exactly what the critics will say about each part of her work and says it before they get the chance, rendering her words nonsensical in a way that highlights the utter impossiblity of nonsense.

Postcritical preemptive self-destructivists like Tom Voran like to make explicit the critical conceits in their works by introducing us to characters with names like "Leuko Geron Paternekus," "Lars Sphincter," "Ms. Vyctym," and "Whuppin Boy." Others, like Weefoke and Earnest Momkin breathe new life into the the tradition of author intrusion, interjecting blatant self-criticisms and analysis of the work right into the text, sometimes injected into the middle of sentences. Momkin forestalls the self-congratulatory, overly confident speculation of the critics as to how his father's decades-long disappearance, sudden re-emergence, and subsequent claims of childhood regression and drunken abuse by his now grown son, affected the younger Momkin's writing, by popping in at opportune moments in the narrative and spilling the beans to the reader. He spells out exactly which parts of the story are fabrications, amalgamations, or embellishments, and which parts actually happened. He often will then proceed to critique that explicatory voice with another that questions how his portrayal of the events is determined by his role in the patriarchal system, especially considering the fact that he is accused of humiliating and unclogging his nose at his estranged father, who came to him in the form of a (many would argue theoretically impossible) disempowered white man (ie a child -- one which the younger Momkin denies ever adopting). A third voice (or fourth, if you count the original narrative voice) mercilessly mocks the critical voice and openly dares the reader to try and figure out which voice speaks for the real Momkin. This final voice sometimes viciously berates the readers themselves, but in such a devilishly clever way as to include them in the joke -- ultimately played on the critics.

This rebellion of creative fecundity comes at the end of a century defined by the cooption of every creative endeavor by the merely productive. It is the war whoop of the individual creative personality so disempowered by mass-production, mass-marketing, mass-distribution, mass-consumption, and the global economy, that it has nothing more to lose by expressing its imaginative uniqueness directly to the world. It has come full-circle by going in a straight line and has gained political power by being voted down, gained economic power by being downsized. It is conscious of the fact that deconstruction ultimately deconstructs itself, but it has been handed a world that still needs deconstructing in order to be reshaped creatively. It is aware that relativism can only be relative, admitting the fact that some things, like the velocity of light in a vacuum, comedy, and tragedy, actually are universal constants, and it uses this to further its own ends.

Industrialization has involved a process of the increasing mechanization and automation of the productive process, and the consequent mechanization of the worker. The apogee of industrialism is represented by computerized automation, which utterly replaces the mechanical functionality of the worker and therein sows the seeds of its own undoing. Simultaneously, the increase of productivity ensures that everything, including the automated tools that have mechanized and finally replaced the worker, become available to the consumer at low, low prices and huge quantities. The mass-production/mass-consumption economy finally deconstructs itself as the workers, alienated from their individually self-expressive "species-being," roboticized, and finally discarded by the corporate machine as obsolete production equipment, begin very slowly to realize that they have as little need for the corporation as the corporation now seems to have for them, due to the mass-production and -distribution of the self-same productivity tool that alienated them from their role as robotic wage-slaves. The microcomputer that liberates the corporation from the untidiness of the human worker liberates the worker from the tyranny of the corporation.

Postcritical preemptive self-destructivism is the literary harbinger of the coming postindustrial revolution of the creative over the productive. Shirley Puddin's guerrilla poetry postings to the Gnutella peer-to-peer file-sharing network are a direct attack on the very business model of the publishing industry that declined publication of her third collection of poems "...on the basis that they contained no product tie-ins or other content that our market research shows will appeal to our target demographic..." and her fourth collection on the basis that "...the intellectual properties referenced in these works are not available to us or our parent company, and the manner in which they are referenced would create a high liability to our company." These über-mature, self-aware poems gleefully provide the reader with original creative substance, while shamelessly hawking Puddin's collections published by Book-On-Demand publisher Alexandria2K.com.

I don't need You

suck My
suck My
Twenty Percent Harper
and Row
Row my royalty ass
Merrily down the rutted
Infromation wagon trail

bite Your
bite Your
Server Push Bubble
and Peer
Peer into the Black Hole
Bunghole money pit
DARPA built

eat Your
eat Your
Brick and Meter Broadcast
and Sell
Sell yourself to yourself
Buyer better beware
They just don't get it

I can sell Ten Percent and make as much

Poems like the above, and Puddin's "Ed eat this poem," distributed under a license that allows them to be copied at no cost, providing they remain properly credited, have gathered a following of disenchanted readers, eager for the æsthetic experience promised by her printed volumes. They claim a direct connection with her and her work, some having copied her poems directly from her hard disk, and more than one claiming to "...feel a warm glow and a closeness after having been personally emailed one of her infamous inchoate rants." Many of these post-postmodern readers compulsively collect her books in their various incarnations and "alternate art" print runs. Some say they wouldn't buy them if they thought that the vast majority of the cover price went into the pockets of the giant media outlets.

The Meta-Dadaist automated sculpture of Alfredo Wiens-Yamamoto (previously known simply as MUK-YOO) displays a deep understanding of the absurdities underlying the status quo economic and social supersystems and their relationship to the individual as producer and consumer. His "This Wacky Machine Make Itself Bite Dust -- You Buy and Watch" updates Duchamp and does him one or two better. The text that scrolls across the liquid crystal display mercilessly lambastes the sculpture, the sculptor, and the viewer, for participating in such a senselessly destructive enterprise while the last rain forests are being consumed in flames and the world becomes polluted to the point of uninhabitability because of just this kind of wasteful mentality that says that simply because we have built up systems that hide the actual cost of digging all these minerals out of the ground and putting them together in amazing ways, we think that we can fill the world with products destined for instant obsolescence, use them up, and throw them away, with no end in sight. All the while, the machine is advancing a drill toward its CPU by means of an outrageously complicated electro-mechanical Rube Goldberg affair that inevitably results in its self-destruction after some interval that is impossible to determine exactly at the outset because the whole system exhibits nonlinear dynamics. It usually takes between two hours and three weeks for the drill to pierce the microprocessor's ceramic package and render the machine useless, requiring the artist to return to the gallery with the spare parts necessary to effect the sculpture's repair. The very fact that he dutifully repairs the machine each time increases both the absurdity and the profound meaning encapsulated in the triple entendre Wiens-Yamamoto is trying to communicate. The message is nothing less than the ballsy assertion that even the most nihilistic shriek of the human psyche can't but express a positive meaning, and that the very notion that an artist's self-aware attempt to convey meaning is passè is an idea that necessarily makes itself passè when followed to its logical conclusion, rendering all the more meaningful the statements of those who have the gall to think they have something to say.

Firing the Acme Disintigrator Ray Gun in a Closed Universe: How Contemporary Critical Theory Demands its Own Irrelevance. Dilliam Weefoke, Proceedings of the Atlas Fellowes, Vol. 97, p. 328.